District 5060 Policy Manual

Youth Protection Policies
Amended June 18, 2015
 
Section 1: Youth Protection
District 5060 Youth Exchange Abuse and Harassment Prevention Policy
Pre-Amble
District 5060 is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary Activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians spouses, partners, and any other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and young people participating in Rotary District 5060 programs.
 
  1. District 5060 Liability Insurance
Rotary District 5060 shall carry adequate general liability insurance with coverage and limits appropriate for its geographic location.
  1. Volunteer Selection and Screening
Clubs within Rotary District 5060 will, for three years, maintain all records of criminal background checks and or sex offender list and or registration checks, waivers, screening for adults working with minors.
All volunteers interested in participating in the District 5060 Youth Exchange Program must:
  1. Complete a Youth Volunteer Questionnaire; Waiver/ Consent and Release form found in Appendix C
  2. Undergo a criminal background check and conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for residents of Canada or the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and National Sex Offenders Registry (NSOR) for US residents.  In Canada, the background checks will be requested by the volunteer and results will be forwarded by the RCMP to the District Youth Protection Coordinator – Canada. In the US, based on the authorization included in the Youth Volunteer Questionnaire/Consent and Release form, the background check will be conducted by the Youth Protection Coordinator – USA using the WSP and NSOR databases.
  3. Undergo personal interviews
  4. Provide a list of references for the participating club in the district to check.
  5. Meet RI and district eligibility requirements for working with students. RI requires that any volunteer who has admitted to, been convicted of, or otherwise found to have engaged in sexual abuse or harassment be prohibited from working with youth in Rotary context.
  6. Understand and comply with RI and district guidelines for the Youth Exchange Program. Host families must meet the following selection and screening requirements, in addition to those listed above.
  1. Host families must undergo a comprehensive interview by the club that determines their sutiability for hosting exchange students. This may include:
  • Demonstrated commitment to safety and security of students.
  • Motivation for hosting a student is consistent with Rotary ideals of international understanding and cultural exchange.
  • Ability to provide adequate accommodations (room and board) for the
  • Aptitude for providing appropriate supervision and parental responsibility that ensures the student’s wellbeing.
  1. Host families must complete a written Youth Volunteer Questionnaire.
  2. Home visit must be conducted for each family. Home visits must be conducted prior to the placement and monthly thereafter during the students stay. At least one such visit should be unannounced or on short notice (not greater than 2 hours).
  3. All adult residents of the host home family and other members of the extended family that resides in the home.
 
Rotarian counselors must meet the criteria for all volunteers, as well as the following:
  1. Counselors must not be a member of the students host family.
  2. Counselors must be provided with and acknowledge the Youth Exchange Sexual Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines.
 
                  3. Student Selection and Screening
                       All students interested in participating in the District 5060 Youth Exchange Program must:
  1. Complete a written/on-line application and be interviewed by district representatives for their suitability for participation in the Youth Exchange Program.
  2. Attend and participate in all district orientation and training sessions.
All parents or legal guardians of students interested in participation in the District 5060 Youth Exchange Program must:
1.    Be interviewed to determine student’s interests in participation in the Youth Exchange Program. Inbound and Outbound Students are required to have travel insurance compliant with current Rotary International standards.
4. Training
District 5060 will provide abuse and harassment prevention training to all Youth Exchange Program participants. The members of the District Youth Exchange Committee will conduct the training sessions.
District 5060 will:
  1. Provide Abuse and Harassment training including relevant information on specific district guidelines, local customs, cultural issues and legal requirements.
  2. Develop a calendar for training and define the frequency of training.
  3. Conduct specialized training sessions for the following Youth Exchange Program participants:
  • District Governor
  • District Youth Exchange Committee members
  • Club Youth Exchange committee members
  • Counselors
  • Host families
  • Students (outbound and inbound)
  • Parents and legal guardians of outbound students
 
 
5. Allegation Reporting Guidelines
District 5060 is committed to protecting the safety and well-being of Youth Exchange students and will not tolerate their abuse or harassment.
 
All allegations of abuse or harassment will be taken seriously and must be handled in accourd with the Youth Exchange Sexual Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines foun in Appendix D.
Volunteers accused of sexual abuse of harassment shall be removed from all youth contact and club participation until an investigation into the claims has proven inconclusive.
 
In the event that the claim against the volunteer is determined to be inconclusive, the club may, but is not required to reinstate the volunteer. If the volunteer is reinstated additional safeguards shall be added to protect all parties involved.
 
6. Investigation Guidelines
District 5060 takes all allegations of abuse or harassment seriously. The District will cooperate with all law enforcement agencies, child protective services and legal investigations and will not interfere with investigations.
 
7. Other District 5060 Responsibilities
                       District 5060 will:
  1. Provide each student with a list of local services in the District (rape and suicide crisis hotline, alcohol and drug awareness programs for teenagers, proper law enforcement agencies, community services, private services, etc.) including with a list of individuals to contact in the case of a problem or emergency, including the name and contact information for the students host club President, host district chair, host governor, and two non-Rotarian resource persons (one male and one female). Additionally, District 5060 will confirm and ensure that the student has accurate contact information for their sponsor District Chair, sponsor Club President and sponsor Club Youth Exchange Officer.
  2. Comply with RI requests for student data request forms for all participating Youth Exchange students and return it to RI in a timely fashion.
  3. Maintain and provide to Youth Exchange students a “district hotline”.
  4. Report all criminal allegations to RI within 72 hours.
  5. Report all serious incidents (accidents, crimes, early returns, death) involving Youth    Exchange students to RI with 72 hours.
  6. Evaluate and review this policy and accompanying procedures on a regular basis.
  7. District 5060 prohibits the placement of exchange students outside of the district structure (also known as “backdoor exchanges”).
  8. Ensure a backup placement location exists for moving students into temporary housing if they have an allegation against a member of the host family or in the event of an emergency occurrence.
  9. District 5060 requires long-term students have more than one host family and that all hosting be voluntary. (Outbound student families may host but cannot be required to host as a condition of their child going on an exchange).
 
8. Club Compliance
District 5060 has developed the following system to ensure club compliance to our Youth Exchange policies. Each club that chooses to participate in the Youth Exchange program will annually sign the District 5060 Certification of Compliance and Commitment (Appendix E). This certification will be signed by the Club President and the Club Youth Exchange Officer.  District 5060 will monitor and ensure that all participating clubs within the District comply with RI and District guidelines for youth protection, abuse and harassment prevention. This ongoing monitoring is the responsibility of the Youth Protection Coordinator – USA and the Youth Protection Coordinator – Canada and overseen by the District Chair.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
District 5060 Policy Manual
Youth Protection Policies
Appendix D
Amended June 18, 2015
 
Sexual Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines
 
Rotary International is committed to protecting the safety and well-being of all youth program participants and will not tolerate their abuse or harassment. All allegations of abuse or harassment will be taken seriously and must be handled within the following guidelines. The safety and well-being of young people must always be the first priority.
 
Definitions:
 
Sexual Abuse:
Engaging in implicit or explicit sexual acts with a young person or forcing or encouraging a young person to engage in implicit or explicit sexual acts alone or with another person of any age, of the same or opposite sex. This includes non-touching offenses, such as indecent exposure or showing a young person sexual or pornographic material.
 
Sexual Harassment:
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. In some cases, sexual harassment precedes sexual abuse and used by sexual predators to desensitize or groom their victims.
 
Some examples of sexual harassment include:
  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or spoken references to sexual conduct, talking about one’s life in the presence of a young person and comments about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies or prowess.
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature.
  • Display of sexual suggestive objects, pictures or drawings.
  • Sexual leering or whistling, any inappropriate physical contact such as brushing or touching, obscene language or gestures and suggestive or insulting comments.
 
Who should determine if it abuse or harassment?
Upon hearing allegations, adults should not determine whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Instead, after ensuring the safety of the student, the adult should immediately report all allegations to appropriate child protection or law enforcement authorities. In District 5060 this reporting is required by law.
 
 
Allegation Reporting Guidelines
Any adult to whom a Rotary youth program participant reports an allegation of sexual abuse or harassment must follow these reporting guidelines.
 
1. Receive the Report
  1. Listen attentively and stay calm. Acknowledge that it takes a lot of courage to report abuse or harassment. Be encouraging: do not express shock, horror or disbelief.
District 5060 will cooperate with all police or legal investigations.
  1. Assure privacy but not confidentially. Explain that you will have to tell someone about the abuse/harassment in order to make it stop and ensure that it does not happen to others.
  2. Get the facts, but don’t interrogate. Ask questions that establish fast: who, what, when, where and how. Reassure the young person that he or she did the right thing in telling you. Avoid asking “why” questions, which may be interpreted as questions the young person’s motives. Remember that your responsibility is to present the story to the proper authorities.
  3. Be non-judgmental and reassure. Avoid criticizing anything that has happened or anyone who may be involved. It’s especially important not to blame or criticize the young person. Emphasis that the situation was not his or her fault and that it was brave and mature to come to you.
  4. Document the allegation. Make a written record of the conversation, including the date and time, as soon after the report as you can. Try to use the young person’s words and record only what he or she told you.
 
2. Protect the Young Person
Ensure the safety and well-being of the youth program participant by removing him or her from the situation immediately and preventing all contact with alleged abuser or harasser. Reassure the youth that this is being done for his or her safety and is not a punishment.
 
3. Report the allegations to appropriate authorities – child protection or law enforcement.
Immediately report all cases of sexual abuse or harassment – first to the appropriate law authorities for investigation and then to the club and district leadership for follow-through. In District 5060 the appropriate law enforcement office is the local police or sheriff in the USA and the RCMP in Canada.
 
In most situations the first Rotary contact should be the local counselor or the youth exchange officer who will be responsible for seeking the advice of appropriate agencies and interacting with them. If the allegation involves the conduct of this Rotarian, the district Youth Exchange Chair or District Governor should be the first Rotary contact.
 
District 5060 will cooperate with law enforcement and legal investigations.
 
District 5060 recognizes that different geographic areas of the District fall under the jurisdiction of different federal, provincial, municipal, state, county or local laws related to sexual abuse and harassment prevention and notes that volunteers may wish to obtain legal counsel to determine legal requirements for their specific areas as needed.
 
4. Avoid Gossip and blame
Do not tell anyone about the report other than those required by the guidelines. Be careful to protect the rights of both the victim and the accused during the investigations.
 
District 5060 maintains the privacy (as district from confidentiality) of any accused persons by enforcing the following procedures:
        District 5060 will only share the specifics of the event and the identity of the involved parties with the District Governor, District Youth Exchange Chair, District Youth Exchange Vice-Chair and appropriate law enforcement. The District will re-enforce to host families, club Youth Exchange Officers and Counselors that the allegations must remain private to protect our youth program participants.
 
5. Do Not Challenge the Alleged Offender
Don’t contact the alleged offender. In cases of abuse, interrogation must be left entirely to law enforcement authorities. In cases of non-criminal harassment, the District Governor is ultimately responsible for follow-through and district compliance. In district5060 the District Governor has delegated this responsibility to the District Youth Exchange Chair. The District Youth Exchange Chair will contact the alleged offender after the young person has been moved to a safe environment and conduct an appropriate investigaiton.  
 
6. Follow-Through Procedures
The District Youth Exchange Chair must ensure that he following steps are taken immediately after an abuse allegation is reported.
  1. Confirm that the youth program participant has been removed form the situation immediately and has no contact with the alleged abuser or harasser.
  2. If law enforcement agencies will not investigate, the District Youth Exchange Chair will coordinate an independent review of the allegations.
  3. Ensure that the student receives immediate support services.
  4. Offer the young person an independent, non-Rotarian counselor to represent his or her interests. Ask local social services or law enforcement to recommend someone who is not a Rotarian or in any way involved in the Youth Exchange program.
  5. Contact the student’s parent or legal guardian. The student and their parents or guardian should decide whether the student will stay in country or return home. If the student stays in their host country, written authorization of this decision from the parent or guardian must be obtained. If the student and their parents or guardian determine that the student should return home, consult with the relevant law enforcement agency before making travel arrangements. If the investigation is pending, the law enforcement authorities may not approve of the student leaving the country.
  6. Remove alleged abuser or harasser from all contact with any other Youth Exchange participants or activities while investigations are conducted.
  7. Cooperate with the law enforcement agency or legal investigation.
  8. Inform the District Governor of the allegation. The Youth Exchange Chair must inform RI within 72 hours and provide follow-up reports of steps taken and the status of the investigations.
  9. After authorities have completed their investigation, District 5060 will follow through to make sure that the situation is being addressed. Specifically, District 5060 will conduct an independent and thorough review of any allegations of sexual abuse or harassment.
 
Post Allegation Report Considerations
District 5060 will respond to the needs of the youth program participant.
District 5060 will adopt a cohesive and managed team approach to support a young person after an allegation report. The youth program participant is likely to feel embarrassed or confused and may become withdrawn.
 
After a report of harassment or abuse, students may have mixed feelings about remaining on their exchange. If they do choose to stay, they may or may not want to continue their relationship with their hosting Rotary Club. In some cases, a student may wish to remain in the country but change to a different host club.
 
Although club members and host families may have trouble understanding how the student is feeling, the student would find it helpful to know that the club continues to be reassuring and supportive. Club members and host families may feel ambivalent about their roles and unclear about their boundaries. However, they need to do whatever is necessary to reassure the student of their support at all times.
 
Addressing issues within the club
When addressing an allegation of abuse or harassment, the most important concern is the safety of youth. Club members should not speculate of offer personal opinions that could potentially hinder any police or criminal investigations. Making comments about alleged victims in support of alleged abusers violates both the Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth and Rotary ideals. Comments made against an alleged abuser could lead to a slander or libel claim against Rotarians or clubs by the alleged abuser. 
 
Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth
Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarian’s spouses, partners and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare or and to prevent the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact.
            Adopted by the RI Board of Directors, November 2002
 
 
 
 
 
Youth Protection Policies
Appendix E
 
Certification of Compliance and Commitment
 
The Rotary Club of ____________________________________ hereby certifies that:
 
  1. That our club will host ____ foreign exchange student(s) next Rotary Year of 201__/201__.
 
  1. It will follow the policies and proceedures as established by Rotary International, Rotary International District 5060 and the District 5060 Youth Exchange Committee when working with any youth activity, event or program.
 
  1. This undertaking is a requirement for our participation in the Youth Exchange program or any other youth related program operated by our club in District 5060. Should our Rotary Club cease to be in compliance with these policies and procedures, then the permission of the District shall be deemed automatically withdrawn for our participation in any youth program.
 
  1. Should permission be withdrawn because of non-compliance or club not signing this affirmation, the club must either withdraw from youth programs or show good faith by coming into compliance as soon as possible.
 
  1. That the undersigned have read the District 5060 Youth Exchange Abuse and Harassment Prevention policy and Youth Exchange Sexual Abuse and Harassment Allegation Reporting Guidelines and will abide by them.
 
  1. That the Club Youth Exchange Representative has received training on RI and District policies.
 
This Certification is signed at _____________________ on ________________, 201__ and is effective form that date until it is revoked in writing by the District or the Club.
 
 
_____________________________                          ________________________________
President                                                                     Club Youth Exchange Officer
 
_____________________________                          ________________________________
            Printed Name                                                              Printed Name